Child Safe Products Act Finalized in Budget
(Albany, NY – April 2, 2020) The Child Safe Products Act was completed today through a budget bill (S.7505B/ A. 9505B), finalizing a decade-long campaign by a broad, diverse coalition of environmental health advocates, health-impacted groups, sustainable businesses, environmental justice leaders, health care providers, child care providers, parent groups, and many others. The law will require manufacturers to disclose chemicals of concern in children’s products and restrict the most toxic, while authorizing the State to add chemicals to disclose and restrict by regulation. Among some marginal changes, the chapter amendments establish a Children’s Product Safety Council to advise the Department of Environmental Conservation on chemical restrictions. The Child Safe Products Act first passed 53-9 in the Senate and 100-23 in the Assembly on April 30, 2019 as part of a first-ever bicameral Earth Day package.
While toxic chemicals can affect anyone, babies and children are particularly vulnerable to their impacts. Chemicals can alter childhood development, and can contribute to cancer, asthma, infertility, developmental disabilities, allergies, diabetes and more. Children in frontline communities face impact that is even more disproportionate. The Child Safe Products Act requires manufacturers to report the presence of chemicals of concern and phase out the most toxic chemicals such as benzene, chlorinated tris, and asbestos, while simultaneously establishing a mechanism for reporting and banning dangerous chemicals from children’s products in perpetuity. New York State is by far the most populous state to take such action, joining Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Maine.
“We appreciate the severity of the crisis facing New York State,” said Kathleen Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York and Co-Leader of the JustGreen Partnership. “For the legislature to prioritize the Child Safe Products Act at this time speaks to the tremendous commitment to children’s environmental health from leadership and advocates across the state. We are so grateful to Governor Cuomo, Senator Kaminsky, Assemblyman Englebright, and everyone else who got us here. We look forward to collaborating with the State to ensure an informed and complete implementation of the law.”
“In the communities where we work, families do not have the time or the finances to bypass all of the toxic products on store shelves,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice and Co-Leader of the JustGreen Partnership. “Communities of color are disproportionately harmed by toxic chemicals in products. Governor Cuomo once said that ‘other states look to New York for the progressive direction.’ The finalization of the Child Safe Products Act ensures that all children have safe products, regardless of their zip code or parents' income. New York has once again illuminated the path to progressive action for other states to follow.”
"After pushing for comprehensive toxic chemical reform in children's products for over a decade, the Sierra Club applauded Governor Cuomo for signing the Child Safe Products Act into law in February of this year, and we look forward to the passage of the agreed upon chapter amendments that will make this law binding," said Caitlin Ferrante, Conservation & Development Program Manager of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. "New Yorkers can breathe easier knowing that harmful and toxic chemicals will have to be disclosed, and that the worst of the worst will eventually be phased out of children's products in the Empire State. The Sierra Club would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Senator Kaminsky, and Assemblyman Englebright for their continued leadership, dedication, and commitment to this issue. We will be protecting not only our families and communities, but also our air, water, and remaining wild places with the signing of this legislation into law.”
"We are very pleased to endorse the finalization of the Child Safe Products Act., said Elie Ward, MSW, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the New York State American Academy of Pediatrics. "Thousands of pediatricians across the state have worked with our partners in children's environmental health to get to this moment. We now know that New York State will be working in a targeted and scientific way to protect our infants, toddlers and children from toxic chemicals in their clothing, bedding, toys and accessories. We thank our partners inside and outside of government for this day of celebration, during some very challenging times,” she added.
“It’s vital for parents to know what’s in their children’s toys and products, especially since some ingredients are linked to cancer, asthma and other health issues. The Child Safe Products Act not only requires manufacturers to disclose chemicals of concern in children’s products, but also creates the framework for phasing out use of the most toxic chemicals such as asbestos and benzene,” said Eve Gartner, Managing Attorney for Toxic Exposure and Health for Earthjustice. “We applaud the leadership of the state for ensuring parents receive the information they need to protect the children of New York.”
"Passage of the Child Safe Products Act means a safer environment for children, parents, and caregivers," said Katie Huffling, Executive Director of Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. "With so much at stake in this moment, as nurses we thank Governor Cuomo and legislative leadership for prioritizing New Yorkers' health."
Josh Klainberg, Senior Vice President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, "With more children at home due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the sales of children's products is at a record high for this time of year illustrating how important it is to protect our children’s health and remove toxins from our environment. The Child Safe Products Act will do just that. That's why we included it in our Environmental Scorecard and State Policy Agenda for years. Requiring the disclosure of chemicals in children's products and banning the most hazardous chemicals from being used will keep children safe and reduce environmental toxins. We thank Governor Cuomo, Senator Kaminsky, and Assemblyman Englebright for their continued leadership on environmental health."
“The Child Safe Products Act is a major step forward in protecting the health of all children in New York State,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “If the current health crisis teaches us anything, it is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Now more than ever, we must take concrete preventative steps to protect the health of our children within the home environment. We thank Governor Cuomo, Senator Kaminsky, and Assemblyman Englebright for their leadership in protecting children’s health.”
"We are especially appreciative that our legislature, even during these challenging times, has moved forward with final necessary details to ensure the implementation of the Child Safe Products Act.” said Laura Weinberg, President of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition. “This law will empower parents and teachers to purchase safer children's products since certain bad-acting chemicals will be banned and manufacturers will need to publicly disclose numerous chemicals of concern. In turn, since research has shown that early life exposures may contribute to the onset of adult disease, this law may reduce the incidence of chronic diseases, such as breast cancer."
”Now more than ever, we realize prevention should always be our first priority,” said Karen Joy Miller, President of the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition. “When it comes to enacting State law, it’s a balancing act. Risk reduction? Job security? Currency? It took years to bring us to the passage and signing of the Child Safe Product Act, securing our right to know what chemicals of concern are in the products we purchase. We hope this fast tracks the elimination of all harmful chemicals used in children’s products. There is nothing more important than the health of our children and grandchildren.”
“NYSBC represents thousands of businesses committed to the triple bottom line of social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and economic prosperity, and the Child Safe Products Act cuts across all three tenets,” said Bob Rossi, Director, New York Sustainable Business Council. “It not only protects our most vulnerable and reduces environmental contamination, it will strengthen our economy. Smarter chemical regulations will drive green tech innovation. Chemical disclosure will allow our retailers to meet the growing demand for non-toxic products. Plus, the children we aim to protect are our future workforce. We thank Governor Cuomo and the leaders in our legislature for seeing this bill through.”
The Child Safe Products Act was the flagship policy of the JustGreen Partnership, a coalition of over 50 groups representing over a million New Yorkers working for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities.
Clean and Healthy New York works for safer chemicals, a sustainable economy, and a healthier world. It co-leads with WE ACT for Environmental Justice the JustGreen Partnership, a coalition of over 50 organizations working for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities, and leads the national Getting Ready for Baby campaign working to ensure all baby and children’s products are free of harmful chemicals.
The JustGreen Partnership is a coalition of about 50 groups representing nearly a million New Yorkers, all working together for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities. The Partnership focuses on transforming the policies that govern how chemicals are regulated or marketed in the great State of New York. Through our work, we are building a better movement for health and environmental justice in New York State.